The Blacklist : Season 1

  • Network: NBC
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 23, 2013
Season #: 1, 2, 3
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 421 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 46 out of 421

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User Reviews

  1. Oct 9, 2013
    6
    It's not terrible but it's story is a little self serving and they pull conspiracies out of thin air. It's a mindlessly violent, over a exaggerated spy drama... About non-spies. Is it a procedural.. Is there a meaningful story arc there somewhere? Not that I can see. Save yourself some time and watch Homeland instead (if you haven't already). Spader is the only redeeming part of the show for me.
  2. Dec 17, 2013
    6
    Spader is fantastic, but the surrounding cast is rather underwhelming. This fact falls on the writers as Spader is the only one who can rise above the dullness of the writing. As far as network TV goes, The Blacklist is far better than most, but in my opinion, there's really nothing new about the Blacklist beyond the standard network Police/FBI shows on finds on network tv.
  3. Nov 11, 2013
    6
    Unbelievable series which seems as if it is going to have a different criminal theme every week. It is linked by James Spader who, ridiculously, is a master criminal dictating actions to the authorities in order for them to catch other criminals. It's all total tosh saved only by Spader himself.
  4. Feb 14, 2014
    6
    Spader is the interesting piece who should be allotted more time. When pushed to the background, what's going on around the lives of the other amateur characters just can't level with what the silent, poetic criminal mind – that is Raymond Reddington – can effortlessly offer. The ongoing plot with Liz's adoption has been halting the show and, like all the names in the Blacklist, must beSpader is the interesting piece who should be allotted more time. When pushed to the background, what's going on around the lives of the other amateur characters just can't level with what the silent, poetic criminal mind – that is Raymond Reddington – can effortlessly offer. The ongoing plot with Liz's adoption has been halting the show and, like all the names in the Blacklist, must be dealt with and locked up soon. Expand
  5. Mar 6, 2014
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. James Spader is one of the great all time actors. He is riveting. Unfortunately Megan Boone is as bad as Spader is good. Her acting compromises the show. Poor casting except for Spader. Good premise of plot. Expand
  6. May 24, 2014
    6
    I am an ENORMOUS fan of James Spader and try to watch this show as an 'entertainment' but the script is often so irrational, it becomes laughable. The cast is strong with the notable exception of Megan Boone whose performance is weak and wooden. She has one of those faces you just want to hit with a shovel (perhaps then it would be less bland and more animated).
  7. Aug 11, 2014
    6
    Show was ok, until episode 10 of first season. Who wrote that?! Whoever that was spoiled the whole thing. Completely unbelievable characters and actions. Episode 9 was fine, I was in and curious of what`s going to happen. And that episode 10 happened. Horrible writing. It was such a bad experience that I had to write it somewhere :)
  8. Oct 10, 2015
    6
    Along with alot of other reviews on here I agree that James Spader is a great fun to watch. Ever since a kid and seeing Stargate I have enjoyed his work. Unfortunately, and despite Spader's performance as the all-knowing mastermind, this show is the complete opposite of Homeland in terms of a realistic counter-terror fiction. It steals plot from 24, Alias, and other spy shows, but MeganAlong with alot of other reviews on here I agree that James Spader is a great fun to watch. Ever since a kid and seeing Stargate I have enjoyed his work. Unfortunately, and despite Spader's performance as the all-knowing mastermind, this show is the complete opposite of Homeland in terms of a realistic counter-terror fiction. It steals plot from 24, Alias, and other spy shows, but Megan Boone is no Jennifer Garner and Klattenhoff is no Cooper. I think if the task force surrounding such a highpowered terrorist and national criminal was larger, had more reach, and perhaps more star power then maybe the show could carry some of its preposterous plotlines a bit more effectively. If Klattenhoff was the sidekick to a more gravitas-inspiring actor then he wouldn't seem so over his head. Suspects who jump off balconies or out windows and yet scramble to their feet as if they just got out of bed, the same white dude fbi agent (Klattenhoff) as the only one chasing suspects, altogether unsubstantial operatives from all branches of the US government for many of the incidents that are in the show... These are just a few of the 'shake your head' moments the show likes to provide viewers. Expand
  9. Oct 2, 2013
    5
    I don't mind suspending disbelief, but I do mind suspending intelligence. O.K. I knew Spader would make or break the show, but I thought he'd have some support from the writers when he was off screen, and all we get is ramped up "24" fantasia land. "Homeland" succeeds because it has a plot and characters to distract from the adolescent view of terrorism, and it has Clare Danes. "Blacklist"I don't mind suspending disbelief, but I do mind suspending intelligence. O.K. I knew Spader would make or break the show, but I thought he'd have some support from the writers when he was off screen, and all we get is ramped up "24" fantasia land. "Homeland" succeeds because it has a plot and characters to distract from the adolescent view of terrorism, and it has Clare Danes. "Blacklist" has the usual super heroes in human clothing. Isn't it rather obvious that Spader has a daughter? Namely? Expand
  10. Oct 3, 2013
    5
    The main draw of this show is unquestionably James Spader. His acting is on full display here as he seems to be relishing this mysterious and complex role. Beyond him though, things start to get dicey. A pet peeve of mine is when writers diminish the intelligence of all the surrounding characters in order to make the main character look more intelligent. That happens here. A lot. TheThe main draw of this show is unquestionably James Spader. His acting is on full display here as he seems to be relishing this mysterious and complex role. Beyond him though, things start to get dicey. A pet peeve of mine is when writers diminish the intelligence of all the surrounding characters in order to make the main character look more intelligent. That happens here. A lot. The government agents, in particular, are almost as incompetent as the cadets in Police Academy, going from one stupid nonsensical act to another. It works for now, but the agents better smarten up or it's going to be tedious. Expand
  11. Nov 12, 2013
    5
    Needs more Spader; less of the woman. If you didn't know better, you'd think the woman was the star of this show. I'm fading fast on the woman and her boyfriend story line. They need to move on from that. And more Spader! After all he is the star, but the show's becoming a yawn because his part is so small compared to the woman (his daughter in the show). I'll give it a bit longer toNeeds more Spader; less of the woman. If you didn't know better, you'd think the woman was the star of this show. I'm fading fast on the woman and her boyfriend story line. They need to move on from that. And more Spader! After all he is the star, but the show's becoming a yawn because his part is so small compared to the woman (his daughter in the show). I'll give it a bit longer to improve and then move on if this continues. Expand
  12. Nov 6, 2014
    5
    sadly no living up to its early series one potential, in series 2 the plots get sillier as the weeks go by, really unfortunate thought this was going to be a really good series
  13. Noy
    Mar 13, 2015
    5
    Lizzy Keen acting stinks, Only reason I watch is Spader. When are you going to replace Agent Keen actress? Megan Boone is really bad for this role. Find a strong actress for this role and this series can go very long with Spader.
  14. Dec 5, 2015
    5
    I'm giving a 5, and that is purely because of Spader. Without him this show is pretty much unwatchable.

    I can't get passed all the glaring holes in this show. The writing for the characters themselves is good, I will give it that. However the story is just, I mean cmon. Even if I was to really turn off my brain and watch this show, drool slobbering all over myself, with the most
    I'm giving a 5, and that is purely because of Spader. Without him this show is pretty much unwatchable.

    I can't get passed all the glaring holes in this show. The writing for the characters themselves is good, I will give it that. However the story is just, I mean cmon. Even if I was to really turn off my brain and watch this show, drool slobbering all over myself, with the most uninquisitive gaze I could, I would still catch glaring continuity and story holes ALL OVER THE PLACE.

    How on Earth do people watch shows like this and not question something that has happened literally every 5 seconds. Its amazing to me really.

    Its one of those shows that tries to look "professional", and really Spader takes this idea a long way with his performances alone.. however so much else with this show just feels very amateur. The way the screens and typing and computer overlays are done are pretty bad.. the special effects, pretty bad.

    The music in some spots seems so forced.. like, they use decent songs, that are classic/memorable tracks, but they use them in ways that just don't fit the scenes, and in a way actually are pretentious. Again, like they are trying too hard to be "cool" by using a particular track where they do, but it just sounds stupid alot of the time. Also, the mixing between these songs and the rest of the show audio is often imbalanced.. at least, I noticed it when I watched.

    Overall, the best part of the show are the actors.. I find that the acting literally saves this show, and it has a decent cast. If the actors were provided a better story and overall if the production on this show was better, I'd likely continue watching it. Alas, with the way it is, its just too flawed for me.
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  15. Mar 1, 2016
    5
    I like the show. However, it is really hard to watch because half of each episode is filmed so the screen is so dark you can't see what's going on. It doesn't enhance the viewer experience, Every time the screen goes dark, I just think, whats going on now, because I can't see anything that is happening. I hate directors that think this enhances or experience as viewers, IT DOES NOT!!!I like the show. However, it is really hard to watch because half of each episode is filmed so the screen is so dark you can't see what's going on. It doesn't enhance the viewer experience, Every time the screen goes dark, I just think, whats going on now, because I can't see anything that is happening. I hate directors that think this enhances or experience as viewers, IT DOES NOT!!! Film it so we can actually see what is going on. Expand
  16. Apr 19, 2016
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I think that Spader has his character solid, solid, solid.

    The rest are ok.
    Well except for Jane Alexander who is always awesome, as she always is.
    Whistler from Sneakers[David Strathairn] is not really allowed to expand the horribleness of his character, which makes me sad.
    The same for Alan Alda, he never gets to really make us hate his character.
    And poor Mr. Solomon. He could show us the dark side of supposed human beings if he ever really got the chance. Perhaps in the future.

    But --- PLEASE, somebody pull all those crappy, lazy, horrible parts of songs out of the show. They are the equivalent of "Walk and Talk" sections in other shows. when the "W and T" sections happen, we know they are killing time and, perhaps trying to set something up. ---- B-U-T using the parts of songs is just a lazy, lazy, lazy, lazy way for the writers, producers, show runners, and music director to not have to put in any work and just steal.

    In fact, you could say that the Powers that Be or showing they are lazy versions of Spader's Red.

    I would have given a much higher rating except for the Cheesey, Lousy, Lazy use of songs in the show. Mr. Spader, I'm sorry they're doing this to you and your cast mates and crew.
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  17. Oct 3, 2013
    4
    Critics gave this a high score, but to me it was just ok. I really want to see it, but was disappointed in the gruesome violence in the first episode and the ridiculous easy way the guy escapes in the first two episodes. He is under total lockdown, then let out and is able to just walks away without anyone seeing him. Unbelievable.
  18. Nov 28, 2013
    4
    Show is good. The only downside is the talent-less performance of Megan Boone. This is one my few reviews that was trigger by this bad acting. I keep wondering why she got this part next to a brilliant Spader. Please find a way to change her for the sake of the show. TEEERRRIBLE
  19. Sep 20, 2014
    4
    Meh. It's another black ops type show. I am not done watching the 1st season and am kind of bored by some fairly obvious plot points? Also, the cinematography isn't so great. there are funny details which are not right, which to me seem really blatant. Ep. 2, 21 minutes, it's easy to see the cut scenes based on the rain on the jackets. There are times when you can't make the scene.Meh. It's another black ops type show. I am not done watching the 1st season and am kind of bored by some fairly obvious plot points? Also, the cinematography isn't so great. there are funny details which are not right, which to me seem really blatant. Ep. 2, 21 minutes, it's easy to see the cut scenes based on the rain on the jackets. There are times when you can't make the scene. It didn't need to be harbor-side. The digital effects are also poor. They stand out like effects from the early 2000's. The plot is alright, but requires some real suspension of disbelief. Best bet, read a book, skip the series.

    I can suspend disbelief, but make it somewhat close to how real life would be, where not every next person is known, already pre-linked, and pre-fried.

    NEXT!!!
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  20. Feb 4, 2015
    4
    Spader's talent is wasted on terrible writing, audio and an illogical script.

    Completely and utterly ridiculous but remains vaguely entertaining because of it. The storylines make absolutely no sense and the FBI agents are possibly the most useless employees I have ever seen in any organisation, in any TV show or film, in all of history. Reddington only sounds vaguely intelligent
    Spader's talent is wasted on terrible writing, audio and an illogical script.

    Completely and utterly ridiculous but remains vaguely entertaining because of it. The storylines make absolutely no sense and the FBI agents are possibly the most useless employees I have ever seen in any organisation, in any TV show or film, in all of history. Reddington only sounds vaguely intelligent juxtaposed with the brainless FBI officers who apparently have no common sense or goal apart from dishing out dodgy one liners whilst being continually made a fool of by the supposed genius Reddington. A prime example of this stupidity is handsome blonde agent Donald Ressler. At one point he completely loses sight of his mission and decides to repeatedly punch an unconscious man in the face for no apparent reason - simultaneously ludicrous and hilarious.

    The amount of times the FBI let people escape is also a great source of humour along with numerous flaws in the bad guy's motives. In one episode we see 'The Courier' shoot an FBI vehicle head on with an assault rifle in the middle of a public highway. Soon after the FBI crash into his car leaving themselves dazed and vulnerable in the drivers and passenger seats... What will the deadly Courier decide to do with them? Well, the man who 'leaves no evidence' and 'kills all parties if a mission is compromised' decides to walk straight past them with his assault rifle and hide behind a wall, letting them survive and eventually catch him.

    This is like the Flash Gordon of crime drama. Charmingly terrible.
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  21. May 31, 2015
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Like everyone else is saying, James Spader is literally the only good thing in the show, I find that seeing the FBI being dumber than one character is overly done and boring, because then the only good thing is Reddington, everyone tries to say Boone is a good actress, which she is but her character Liz Keen makes you want to slam your head against a wall, and doesn't grasp your interest at all, it's only though Reddington's efforts that she even stands out.

    Honestly White Collar does a better job at making FBI agents seem like they're worth watching, because none of them are portrayed as dumb. It's one thing to make an individual stand out, but to make everyone else seem dumber in comparison or not as interesting is what doesn't make this show stand out much. And none of the supporting characters or side characters stick out, or make you feel like WOW good villain, but it's just good acting, and it CAN be way better, though it isn't, like at all.

    The best villains are in Criminal Minds, and that's because they're shown as people, but overall, in terms of plot and characters, this show is not doing anyone justice. Especially when it comes to Keen's fiance, that plot-line and why Reddington keeps helping her, are the ones that drive you mad, not because you want to know, but because they keep dragging it out, like you know in each episode somebody is gonna be thinking about it, even if they don't need to, and all you're gonna keep saying is "please, just stop." which they won't be doing ever.

    I don't understand how anyone says anyone other than Reddington is worth it, because even though some characters are nice to watch, no one manages to catch your interest but Reddington, not even the list is interesting, even though that's what the show is named after. Like I feel if they'd named the show Reddington, and made him the main character and showed his life story, that would have been much better than showing us the FBI who can't match his intelligence nor wit in certain areas.

    I also wish that if the FBI couldn't catch the people on the list for a long time, that it shouldn't be easy for Reddington to find them, it's like saying the FBI doesn't know how to do undercover or its jobs, but one man can. It also should take some time to find the people on the list, and we should be seeing more agents rather than the same ones, and getting into their life stories, like I can learn a lot about a person without needing to watch 12 episodes which could take the span of a max of 2 months in their timeline. Introducing interesting characters within the FBI would be better, even if we don't like them. Otherwise this show should just be called 'Reddington and Keen' and then we won't have to keep skirting the issue of is he or is he not her father. I don't know, and I don't care.

    I've lost interest after the first few episodes, I tried to check out the summary of later episodes or seasons to see if I was doing the show injustice, but I'm not, not really anyway, because I tried, and it backfied, cause I ended up dying to finish the episode so I would've have to see Keen talk or any other FBI agent. And maybe its my opinion, but it's not as good as people keep claiming it to be, I apologize if this offends fans. And I hope this helps non-fans and saves people the effort of having to watch with so many expectations and then feeling bitter when those expectations blow up.
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  22. May 24, 2016
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Season 1 started as an 8 (thanks to Spader) despite despite the bimbo whose main talent resides in her hair. Then things started to go south. Against all odds, I was hoping that her character was really dead and that the show would somehow renew itself. No luck. Too bad. Expand
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. People Weekly
    Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Oct 11, 2013
    75
    [A] pleasurable, cheeky new crime drama. [21 Oct 2013, p.47]
  2. Reviewed by: Jeff Jensen
    Oct 9, 2013
    83
    Here and now, The Blacklist is top-of-the-list escapism.
  3. Reviewed by: Michael Starr
    Oct 3, 2013
    75
    [Spader’s] magnetic, chewing on the scenery so much that you can’t look away from him.